scribbles tagged ‘Washington’

voting performance

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

On November 15th they’ll have local Elections in the UK. The voting stations, normally schools, close for their normal purpose and are staffed with people to help the voters make their vote.

After work I’ll walk along to the local primary school “Alfred Sutton” walk up to a table that’s labelled with “H” for House, give them my voter card and they’ll use a pencil to cross my name of a paper list and point me to a little booth where I’ll go and put an ‘X’ next to the name of the person I want to vote for.

It’s all very quaint and has been the same since I started voting in the early 80’s.

Voting as a fmily eventFriends in Washington State (West coast USA) get to vote by dropping their papers in a large Ballot Box or the mail, it’s all postal vote for them. In this case, the family made a trip to the ballot box location and the children ceremoniously dropped their vote into the Ballot box.

They can also pick-up a report card that gives them a voting performance score based on their personal voting history and that of thier neighbourhood. Excellent!
Voting history report card

voting performance
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mountain mary

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

wendy: i think I must be lonely

mary: rubbish, you are the least lonely person that I know, you just spend a lot of your time on your own

We met several months before.  We both started a ‘mountain glacier hiking’ course.  At 60 Mary was the oldest person on the course. She had not signed up as part of a couple nor was she treating the course as a mate-finding opportunity.   How refreshing. I soon started to seek-out Mary’s company while hiking and during the rest breaks.  I quickly tired of the chattering from other hikers, normally affluent couples considering what gear to purchase, what restaurant to recommend.

At 60 Mary’s love for her terminally-ill bed-ridden husband was not stated, but it beamed stronger than a lighthouse.  She recorded our hiking sessions, the beautiful scenery and laughter,  for him with her new digital camera.  He could feel part of an active interesting life because she sought this life out and carefully bought it back to his bedside with love. What a fabulously generous heart.

I fell in love with Mary. Not the love that hungers for sexual validation. Not a love that needed to be returned.  There was deep peace in her company. Knowing this I invited myself to her home in the foothills of Mount Ranier. The home she had built with her husband before his death so noticibly stepped towards him.

wendy: can I help you gather the leaves from your garden?

Mary: yesthey  will fall as fast as you’ll be able to gather them

After a morning gardening, mostly in silence, we went inside and Mary finished the home made french onion soup.  She talked while she stirred. Talked of how her father raped her and how the authorities didnt believe her story. Talked of how her sister committed suicide. How she left her bilogical family and built her own new family.  How she worked to help abused children and beaten wives. Clearly she has known and seen more loneliness than I could feel.

The cedar dappled autumn sun played on her face.  No tears, no frown lines.

It seems we have both found some form of peace amidst life, in the silences

mountain mary
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public love fest

Sunday, July 15th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

(Warning:   anyone with aversions to bulleted lists should avert their eyes after the next sentence)  

The July 4th parade in the City  formerly known as Bug  is by far the most engaging,  relaxed and  inclusive I have ever experienced.   Inclusiveness includes:

Some people even drive their tractors to the parade  for a good view.   Everyone  cheers and waves at everyone else.  

An all around  love fest of everyday life.  

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first pacific flight crossing: glorious belly flop

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

Aerial circus star Clyde Pangborn and playboy Hugh Herndon, Jr., captured the Japanese prize with a glorious belly-flop in Wenatchee, Wash., in 1931.

I passed this hangar while faffing around in East Wenatchee.   Then discovered this colourful article on the    HistoryNet    (above title).   Local Washington State boy Mr. Pangborn was quite a character,   he went on to  join the RAF (Royal Air Force)

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Golden Medical Discovery

Sunday, May 6th, 2007 | tags: , , ,  |

A ‘prince of quacks’ in Queen city.   Dr. Roy Pierce’s medical elixia appears to be an exemplar of ‘medical quackery’.   He created,   marketed and patented the ingredients of a range of ‘medical’ products.   There is a wonderful humour in the well-maintained barn-painted advertisement for this phenomena (medicine quack) of the wild-west.

Golden Medical Discovery
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secret garden (conkers)

Thursday, March 1st, 2007 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

twenty-first post in a  Thursday series of snoops into experiences of taking tiffin with  (black) tea  in the NW USA.

Thursday Tiffin #21: secret garden  (conkers)

recommended venue for an atmospheric, private,  conversation with special friends or family over a good cup of tea and to stock up some sizable conkers.

1890’s Historically registered building.   For the US West coast that is REALLY OLD!   There are several huge old conker trees in the garden.   The ground is littered with conkers.    I rarely see conker trees in the puget sound region.   A habit left over from childhood, I placed a few big, heavy,  symmetrical conkers in my pocket, just incase…    

Inside,    high quality retro décor, not kitsch or overdone.   White table-clothes and napkins.   Antique furniture that is not ‘distressed’.   The establishment blends beautifully American and English tea taking ceremonies with excellent food in a tasteful, timeless ambiance.   Let me say ‘excellent food’ once again.   Prices are neither cheap  nor  exorbitant.   I had a large bowl of Coconut Chicken Lemon grass soup with a scone and a small pot of Darjeeling that came to about $10 including tax.


  • clientele included men as well as women
  • a jug of milk was offered before it was requested
  • sugar-cubes in a bowl with tongs
  • matching china crockery and pseudo-silver flatware
  • soup served with an actual soup spoon


  • The en-suite shop that sells quaint things, pink things and sparkly jewellery things
  • A glass of iced water, regularly topped-up
  • The scones (more like English rock cakes)
  • wide choice of sugar substitutes in sachets on the table
  • over 70 types of tea on a laminated plastic menu
  • staff attentive and clearly amenable to customer requests not currently on the menu.   I overhead a customer asking for, and receiving,   iced tea.   In January.  

Those tiny imperfections that even an excellent establishment can have…they are trivial….

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six Spokane pseudo sentences

Friday, June 2nd, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |
  1. Airway Heights is on a flat surrounded by higher ground.. ?!
  2. Fairchild Airforce Base is on part of State Route 2 near airway heights  labelled as ‘Rambo Road’, aspirational imagery or some form of joke?
  3. Airway Heights Corrections Center (Prison) is sign-posted from Rambo, not Papillon,  road.
  4. No sign of Dan’s bottom in  Reardan.
  5. Tautological sign posting;    a road sign announced “scenic vista“.  
  6. Northwest arts and culture museum attendant said “Miss, please do not put your stuffed toy on the cars“,    what a charmer, no messing with ‘Mam’, ‘Lady’ or ‘Oi! YOU” 😉

Flat Eric mistreating a car in the Northwest art and culture museum

There was quite a lot of giggling and some wincing  on the roads around Spokane 🙂

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Spokane or Madrid. You choose.

Thursday, June 1st, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

Our Barcelonean correspondent is a bit miffed.  Eyan  writes:

Am translating the most tedious web page ever, which makes Madrid look as exciting as a wet weekend in Middlesborough without a DVD or laptop. It’s probably written by some pijo (read posh kid or Ivy leaguer) who has connections to the Partido Popular (read Tory or Republican party), not unikely to have connections with Opus Dei and is bound to be somebody’s cousin, niece, or nephew. Meritocracy is not the word for Spanish society. Most overused words – offer ( used 27 times as a verb and noun in about 2,000 words), enjoy, importante, (which is often translated into English as significant).

My guide also describes the main gay area, Chueca,  without actually saying it is a gay area. It only refers to “subcultures” ( there are also a lot of trendy places nearby, but not actually really in Chueca). Gays offend Catholic fundamentalist sensibilities, along with poor people, socialists and immigrants.

While Eyan was tackling turgid sleep-inducing web-page prose,  I was tackling crossing the vast open plains of Spokane roads…   …how wide?

Spokane street,  700 cars wide.

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Spokane Falls at night

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

Spokane Falls at nightOriginally uploaded by :: Wendy ::.

It was really this pretty, all soft spray and coloured lights a gentle roar of water. Lots of smooching couples nearby being all squishily romantic. I was too shy to photograph them…

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why have you come to Spokane?

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006 | tags: , , , , ,  |

I asked the other guests at the Stoltz House.

Click here for flick-r photographs of inside Stoltz house

Edmonton  couple: for a vacation

Banff  couple: we’ve just bought an apartment here

The couple from Edmonton continued with the story of their son’s recent wedding in the Ukraine.

Edmonton couple:   there are no fat people in the Ukraine; everyone has wonderful figures, even the old people.

We shared a complimentary bottle of red wine supplied by Phyllis,   the outstanding landlady of Stoltz House for that last 14yrs,   Phyllis is incomparable,   a pure diamond.  I learned that Banff is lacking for cultural entertainment in the summer and is within driving distance of the happening city of Spokane.   A pleasant drive.  I learned  about ‘King Ralph’,   a radio and TV personality with a drinking problem that is currently the premier of Alberta, not  the film starring John Goodman.

I managed not to giggle at multiple uses of the word  ‘a boooooot’.

It was a tough challenge after two glasses of wine.   I sat in my corner,   nodded occassionaly and laughed at the genuinely funny stories.

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Spoke Ann (post-prequel pre-visit plan)

Saturday, May 27th, 2006 | tags: , , , ,  |

After 1 beer lists are the height of my organisation prowess.   After 2 beers I can reach the heady heights of a  miss-typed stream of consciousness.   Tee hee, Jack Kerouac  eat your heart out.   See if you can  guess where, in this stream of consciousness, I finnish my second beer…..

10 things to contemplate doing around Spokane ((structure of this post was inspired by Jen’s ’10 things’ series.))

  1. Visit the site of the former World fair,   riverfront park.   Waterfalls,   gardens, funfair rides,   and a ‘falls sky ride’   oooOOOoooooo….     …I hope Flat Eric doesn’t suffer from vertigo!
  2. Try-out some wines from the local wineries.    Can I taste the mining, or nuclear, pollution?   Does  this give  the wines a  zesty ‘kill your taste-buds’ tang?   It’s got to be done!
  3. Take a look at the outside of  the Kaiser Aluminum plant,   one of those places where workers were exposed to Asbestos. It’s a business that is expanding in Spokane and supplies materials to build aeroplanes.  
  4. Look at the architecture downtown.   The Davenport Hotel looks like it could be a fabulous turn of the century building that I can wander into without parting with cash.
  5. Visit the Northwest museum of arts and culture,   that has a special exhibition on ‘cars and costume’,   an intriguing juxtaposition.
  6. Visit the ‘Crosby’ center on the Gonzaga campus,   named after the local boy ‘Bing Crosby’.   Maybe take a photograph of Flat Eric in front of the statue of Bing.
  7. find out about the subduing of the indigneous  Spokane, Palouse, Coeur D’Alene tribes (visit the Steptoe battlefield),   check out some ancient  petroglyphs.
  8. walk,  roller-blade or bike along the Spokane Centenai trail.
  9. visit a couple of local ‘prairies’ and look for ‘little houses’ on them.   ‘Orchard prairie’ is by a town called ‘Country Homes’ with names like these they are just calling out for a visit….   They don’t have ‘prairies’ in Britain.   For me their novelty value hasn’t worn off and I grew-up watching the Ingle’s girls….
  10. Visit Manito park.   Mainly to be in  a pretty place designed to make people relax and be happy,   but also to get some local information on the Olmstead Brothers influence.   I’m an Olmstead brothers groupie.   Only since they  are dead there’s no sex on the cards when being a groupie.   Sigh.    I’ve admired them since I was 20 when I first studied environmental psychology as an undergraduate.    The wikipedia entry on their achievements doesn’t adequately praise their work in the light of the predominant contemporary attitudes towards nature,   especially European attitudes.    You might get treated to a bit of my gushing over these guys in a later blog entry.   IF you are lucky.   You could get lucky.   I used to get paid,   yes  PAID,  to  discuss their work with people.   People?   well undegraduates,   I’m not sure if they count,   they’re so busy being hip and pre-mature and having sex and stuff even though they can say some insightful things in odd moments of lucidity during seminars,   mainly they’re just cute in a grungy kind of way,   or at least they were when I taught….    

If I do only two things in that list I’ll be a happy bouncy bunny.   Did you spot where the stream of consciousness krept in?   I bet you did,   you’re clever like that   😉


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Reasons to visit Tacoma #1

Monday, January 16th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

Harmon Pub and Brewery there.   It serves a tasty “Extra Special Bitter” (ESB).   Either it  doesn’t have a good Head like a UK pint or the server didn’t know how to pour it.   It  wasn’t offensively gaseous,    alcohol-starved, or ‘cloudy’  like many US brews.   Result!  




Worth going back for another straight from the Brewhouse…


Wendy Tacoma-bound.

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photo’ and driving

Sunday, January 1st, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

This  may have been taken  balancing  a camera on a steering wheel driving  across the impressive 4.1 mile Astoria-Megler bridge.

More impressive photographs and details about:   Astoria-Megler Bridge

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Issaquah Village CATS

Saturday, December 24th, 2005 | tags: , ,  |

The Issaquah Village Theatre staged a version of the Andrew Lloyd-Webber Musical CATs.  

It was well performed,   beautiful,   with a suitable set, fabulous make-up and sexy costumes.   I didn’t know the ‘plot’ beforehand and the performance did not  adequately convey the plot.   That didn’t really matter to me because it was such a beautiful sensual experience.    The performances were well beyond the quality of my expectations for a regional theatre group.   Karen Kaiser’s rendition of  the famous song “Memory” was technically excellent and very moving.      

I’d recommend taking the opportunity to see this production.  

For those more discerning than me this critical review  is more detailed and a little more critical.  


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Baseball opening ceremonies

Monday, September 12th, 2005 | tags: , , ,  |

We went to see Seattle Mariners vs Baltimore Orioles at the Seattle Mariner’s ‘Safeco” stadium on Saturday evening.

The massive roof rolls closed to enable the games to continue in Seattle rain. Below, you can see it open in the early evening sunlight as the field is prepared for the game. Baseball games are a fabulous American ceremony.

Preparation of the field is like a dance involving

  • Mascot: Seattle Mariners use a person dressed as a ‘Moose’?! in slapstick style interactive antics.
  • Autographs: team members sign autographs at the edge of the field.
  • Overhead screens: play media clips of ‘bloopers’, games, and provide statistics.
  • Colours: Before the game starts the colours (National, State and Utility – e.g. firemen) are marched onto the field
  • Field preparation: the sand is sprayed with water, this appears like a tightly choreographed dance. The ‘lines’ are placed on the ground. Again this appears very ritualised
  • National Anthem: a guest sings the National anthem while the crowd stands.
  • Food: people walk up and down the isles calling-out the food types they are vending (popcorn, candy-floss, beer, lemonade). You catch their attention and purchase directly from them without leaving your seat. Alternatively you can walk to a huge walkway that surrounds the back of the stands and is completely bordered by food/drinks vendors.

This game included one minute of silence prior to the National Anthem to remember the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Essentially a shared experience, news system and re-inforcement of morale values.


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Sunday, September 4th, 2005 | tags: , ,  |

Spent the day with friends at the Bumbershoot festival listening to music, playing in the International fountain, watching people shop and eat.


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Kayaking on Lake Union

Friday, August 26th, 2005 | tags: , , ,  |

Kayaking on Lake Union was wonderful. Watching Seaplanes land, intricate and varied houseboat designs, awash in thick sunshine. We hired (US = rented) Kayak’s from:

Wendy amatuer-paddler

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Boulder River, WA

Sunday, August 21st, 2005 | tags: , ,  |

Yesterday we went for a short ‘hike’.

Actually it was more of a ‘stroll’ along Boulder River. Once we arrived at the waterfalls it was more of a ‘scramble’. Scrambling over rocks, through the river along and up fallen tree-trunks. I got to hug a tree or two, mainly through fear of falling into the water below as we crossed the river!

I took over 50 photographs. Mainly of moss, boulders, ferns, trees…. They will help inspire a painting composition.

Wendy tree-hugging

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